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The Republic of Cape Verde ( ; , ) is an island country, spanning an archipelago located in the Macaronesiamarker ecoregion of the North Atlantic Oceanmarker, off the western coast of Africa, opposite Mauritaniamarker and Senegalmarker.

It is slightly more than 4,000 km² in area with an estimated population of over 500,000. The capital of Cape Verde is Praiamarker. The previously uninhabited island were discovered and colonized by the Portuguesemarker in the 15th century, and attained independence from Portugal in 1975.

As of 2007, Cape Verde is classified as a developing country after being promoted from Least Developed Countries status. About 20% of the population lives on less than $1.25 (U.S.) a day.

History

Before the arrival of Europeans, the Cape Verde Islands were uninhabited. In 1462, Portuguesemarker settlers arrived at Santiagomarker and founded a settlement they called Ribeira Grande (now called Cidade Velhamarker, to avoid being confused with the town of Ribeira Grandemarker on the Santo Antãomarker island). Ribeira Grande was the first permanent European settlement in the tropics.

The Portuguese named the islands Cabo Verde (from which the English Cape Verde derives), after the nearby Cap Vertmarker on the Senegalese coast. In the 16th century, the archipelago prospered from the transatlantic slave trade. Pirates occasionally attacked the Portuguese settlements. Sir Francis Drake sacked Ribeira Grande in 1585. After a French attack in 1712, the town declined in importance relative to nearby Praiamarker, which became the capital in 1770.

With the decline in the slave trade, Cape Verde's early prosperity slowly vanished. However, the islands' position astride mid-Atlantic shipping lanes made Cape Verde an ideal location for re-supplying ships. Because of its excellent harbour, Mindelomarker (on the island of São Vicentemarker) became an important commercial center during the 19th century.




In 1951, Portugal changed Cape Verde's status from a colony to an overseas province in an attempt to blunt growing nationalism. Nevertheless, in 1956, Amilcar Cabral, a Cape Verdean, and a group of Cape Verdeans and Guineans organized (in Portuguese Guineamarker) the clandestine African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), which demanded improvement in economic, social, and political conditions in Cape Verde and Portuguese Guinea and formed the basis of the two nations' independence movement. Moving its headquarters to Conakrymarker, Guinea in 1960, the PAIGC began an armed rebellion against Portugal in 1961. Acts of sabotage eventually grew into a war in Portuguese Guinea that pitted 10,000 Soviet bloc-supported PAIGC soldiers against 35,000 Portuguese and African troops.

By 1972, the PAIGC controlled much of Portuguese Guinea despite the presence of the Portuguese troops, but the organization did not attempt to disrupt Portuguese control in Cape Verde. Portuguese Guinea declared independence in 1973 and was granted de jure independence in 1974. Following the April 1974 revolution in Portugal, the PAIGC became an active political movement in Cape Verde. In December 1974, the PAIGC and Portugal signed an agreement providing for a transitional government composed of Portuguese and Cape Verdeans. On June 30, 1975, Cape Verdeans elected a National Assembly, which received the instruments of independence from Portugal on July 5, 1975.

Immediately following the November 1980 coup in Guinea-Bissau, relations between Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau became strained. Cape Verde abandoned its hope for unity with Guinea-Bissau and formed the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV). Problems have since been resolved, and relations between the countries are good. The PAICV and its predecessor established a one-party system and ruled Cape Verde from independence until 1990.

Responding to growing pressure for pluralistic democracy, the PAICV called an emergency congress in February 1990 to discuss proposed constitutional changes to end one-party rule. Opposition groups came together to form the Movement for Democracy (MPD) in Praia in April 1990. Together, they campaigned for the right to contest the presidential election scheduled for December 1990.

The one-party state was abolished September 28, 1990, and the first multi-party elections were held in January 1991. The MPD won a majority of the seats in the National Assembly, and MPD presidential candidate António Mascarenhas Monteiro defeated the PAICV's candidate with 73.5% of the votes. Legislative elections in December 1995 increased the MPD majority in the National Assembly. The party won 50 of the National Assembly's 72 seats.

A February 1996 presidential election returned President Monteiro to office. Legislative elections in January 2001 returned power to the PAICV, with the PAICV holding 40 of the National Assembly seats, MPD 30, and Party for Democratic Convergence (PCD) and Party for Labor and Solidarity(PTS) 1 each. In February 2001, the PAICV-supported presidential candidate Pedro Pires defeated former MPD leader Carlos Veiga by only 13 votes.

Politics

Cape Verde is a stable democracy. The Cape Verde constitution—adopted in 1980 and revised in 1992, 1995, and 1999—forms the basis of government. The president is head of state and is elected by popular vote for a 5-year term. The prime minister is head of government and proposes other ministers and secretaries of state. The prime minister is nominated by the National Assembly and appointed by the president. Members of the National Assembly are elected by popular vote for 5-year terms. Three parties now hold seats in the National Assembly—PAICV 40, MPD 30, and Cape Verdean Independent Democratic Union (UCID) 2.

The judicial system consists of a Supreme Court of Justice — whose members are appointed by the president, the National Assembly, and the Board of the Judiciary — and regional courts. Separate courts hear civil, constitutional, and criminal cases. Appeal is to the Supreme Court.

In 2008, Cape Verde placed 3rd out of 48 sub-Saharan African countries in the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, scoring very well in Safety and Security and Rule of Law, Transparency and Corruption. The Ibrahim Index is a comprehensive measure of African governance, based on a number of different variables which reflect the success with which governments deliver essential political goods to its citizens. [702252]

Cape Verde follows a policy of nonalignment and seeks cooperative relations with all friendly states. Angolamarker, Brazilmarker, the People's Republic of Chinamarker, Cubamarker, Francemarker, Germanymarker, Portugalmarker, Spainmarker, Senegalmarker, Russiamarker, and the United Statesmarker maintain embassies in Praiamarker. Cape Verde is actively interested in foreign affairs, especially in Africa. It has bilateral relations with some Lusophone nations and holds membership in a number of international organizations. It also participates in most international conferences on economic and political issues. Cape Verde has a Special Partnership status with the EU and might apply for membership.

The military of Cape Verde consists of a coast guard and an army; 0.7% of the country's GDP was spent on the military in 2005.

Geography and climate



The Cape Verde archipelago is located approximately off the coast of West Africa. It is composed of ten islands (of which nine are inhabited) and eight islets. The islands have a combined size of just over 4,000 square kilometers. The islands are divided into the Barlaventomarker (windward) islands (Santo Antãomarker, São Vicentemarker, Santa Luziamarker, São Nicolaumarker, Salmarker, and Boa Vistamarker) and the Sotaventomarker (leeward) islands (Maiomarker, Santiagomarker, Fogomarker, and Bravamarker). The largest island, both in size and population, is Santiago, where the capital of Praiamarker is located.

Though Cape Verde's islands are all volcanic in origin, they vary widely in terrain. A still-active volcano on the island of Fogomarker is the highest point on the archipelago (elevation 2,829 meters). Extensive salt flats are found on Sal and Maio. On Santiago, Santo Antão, and São Nicolau, arid slopes give way in places to sugarcane fields or banana plantations spread along the base of towering mountains.

Cape Verde’s climate is milder than that of the African mainland; because the island is surrounded by the sea, temperatures are generally moderate. Average daily high temperatures range from in January to in September. Cape Verde is part of the Sahelian arid belt, with nothing like the rainfall levels of nearby West Africa. It does rain irregularly between August and October, with frequent brief-but-heavy downpours. A desert is usually defined as terrain which receives less than 250 mm of annual rainfall. Cape Verde's total (261 mm) is slightly above this criterion, which makes the area climate semi-desert.

Cape Verde's isolation has resulted in the islands having a number of endemic species, particularly bird and reptiles, many of which are endangered by human development. Endemic birds include Alexander's Swift (Apus alexandri), the Raso Lark (Alauda razae), the Cape Verde Warbler (Acrocephalus brevipennis), and the Iago Sparrow (Passer iagoensis). The islands are also an important breeding area for seabirds including the Cape Verde Shearwater. Reptiles include the Cape Verde Giant Gecko (Tarentola gigas).

The islands are geologically principally composed of igneous rocks, with basic volcanics and pyroclastics comprising the majority of the total volume. The volcanic and plutonic rocks are distinctly basic in character. The archipelago is an example of a soda-alkaline petrographic province, with a petrologic succession which is similar to that found in other Mid Atlanticmarker islands.Mount Fogomarker is an active volcano which most recently erupted in 1995. Fogo’s caldera is 8 km in diameter, the rim is at an elevation of 1600 m with an interior cone rising to 2830 m from the crater's floor level. Calderas probably result from the subsidence, following the partial evacuation of the magma chamber, of a cylindrical block into the supplying magma chamber, in this case lying at a depth of some 8 km.The archipelago has been dated at approximately 180 million years old.

Hurricanes that form near the Cape Verde Islands are sometimes referred to as Cape Verde-type hurricanes. These hurricanes can become very intense as they cross warm Atlantic waters.

Administrative divisions

Cape Verde is divided into 22 municipalities (concelhos) and subdivided into 32 parishes (freguesias):

Barlavento Islandsmarker
Island Municipality Parish
Santo Antãomarker Ribeira Grandemarker Nossa Senhora do Rosário
Nossa Senhora do Livramento
Santo Crucifixo
São Pedro Apóstolo
Paulmarker Santo António das Pombas
Porto Novomarker São João Baptista
Santo André
São Vicentemarker São Vicente Nossa Senhora da Luz
Santa Luziamarker
São Nicolaumarker Ribeira Bravamarker Nossa Senhora da Lapa
Nossa Senhora do Rosário
Tarrafal de São Nicolaumarker São Francisco
Salmarker Salmarker Nossa Senhora das Dores
Boa Vistamarker Boa Vistamarker Santa Isabel
São João Baptista


Sotavento Islandsmarker
Island Municipality Parish
Maiomarker Maiomarker Nossa Senhora da Luz
Santiagomarker Praia Nossa Senhora da Graça
São Domingosmarker Nossa Senhora da Luz
São Nicolau Tolentino
Santa Catarina Santa Catarina
São Salvador do Mundo São Salvador do Mundo
Santa Cruzmarker Santiago Maior
São Lourenço dos Órgãos São Lourenço dos Órgãos
Ribeira Grande de Santiagomarker Santíssimo Nome de Jesus
São João Baptista
São Miguel São Miguel Arcanjo
Tarrafalmarker Santo Amaro Abade
Fogomarker São Filipe São Lourenço
Nossa Senhora da Conceição
Santa Catarina do Fogo Santa Catarina do Fogo
Mosteiros Nossa Senhora da Ajuda
Bravamarker Bravamarker São João Baptista
Nossa Senhora do Monte


Economy

Municipal market in S.
Vicente.


Cape Verde has few natural resources and suffers from scant rainfall and limited fresh water. Only 4 of the 10 main islands (Santiago, Santo Antão, Fogo, and Brava) normally support significant agricultural production, and over 90% of all food consumed in Cape Verde is imported. Mineral resources include salt, pozzolana (a volcanic rock used in cement production), and limestone.

The economy of Cape Verde is service-oriented, with commerce, transport, and public services accounting for more than 70% of GDP. Although nearly 70% of the population lives in rural areas, agriculture and fishing contribute only about 9% of GDP. Light manufacturing accounts for most of the remainder. Fish and shellfish are plentiful, and small quantities are exported. Cape Verde has cold storage and freezing facilities and fish processing plants in Mindelo, Praia, and on Sal. Expatriate Cape Verdeans contribute an amount estimated at about 20% of GDP to the domestic economy through remittances.

Since 1991, the government has pursued market-oriented economic policies, including an open welcome to foreign investors and a far-reaching privatization program. It established as top development priorities the promotion of a market economy and of the private sector; the development of tourism, light manufacturing industries, and fisheries; and the development of transport, communications, and energy facilities. From 1994 to 2000 about $407 million in foreign investments were made or planned, of which 58% were in tourism, 17% in industry, 4% in infrastructure, and 21% in fisheries and services.

Cape Verde's strategic location at the crossroads of mid-Atlanticmarker air and sea lanes has been enhanced by significant improvements at Mindelomarker's harbor (Porto Grande) and at Sal'smarker and Praia's international airports. A new international airportmarker was opened in Boa Vistamarker in December 2007. Ship repair facilities at Mindelo were opened in 1983. The major ports are Mindelo and Praia, but all other islands have smaller port facilities. In addition to the international airport on Sal, airports have been built on all of the inhabited islands. All but the airport on Brava enjoy scheduled air service. The archipelago has of roads, of which are paved, most using cobblestone.

The country's future economic prospects depend heavily on the maintenance of aid flows, the encouragement of tourism, remittances, outsourcing labor to neighboring African countries, and the momentum of the government's development program.

Cape Verde has significant cooperation with Portugal at every level of the economy, which has led it to link its currency first to the Portuguese escudo and, in 1999, to the euro. On June 23, 2008 Cape Verde became the 153rd member of the WTO.

Demographics

Local people from Santiago island
Population pyramid, 2005


Around 71 percent of the population is Creole of mixed black African and Portuguese descent. The remainder of the population is mostly black Africans, with a small number of whites. The European men who colonized Cape Verde did not usually bring wives or families with them. As female African slaves were brought to the islands, inter-marriages occurred.

More than 85 percent of the population is nominally Roman Catholic, though for a minority of the population Catholicism is syncretized with African influences. The largest Protestant denomination is the Church of the Nazarene; other groups include the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Assemblies of God, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, and various other Pentecostal and evangelical groups. There are small Baha'i communities and a small Muslim community. The number of atheists is estimated at less than 1 percent of the population.

Cape Verde's official language is Portuguese. It is the language of instruction and government. However, the Cape Verdean Creole is used colloquially and is the mother tongue of virtually all Cape Verdeans. Cape Verdean Creole or Kriolu is a dialect continuum of a Portuguese-based creole, which varies from island to island. There is a substantial body of literature in Creole, especially in the Santiago Creole and the São Vicente Creole. Creole has been gaining prestige since the nation's independence from Portugal. However, the differences between the varied forms of the language within the islands have been a major obstacle in the way of standardization of the language. Some people have advocated the development of two standards: a North (Barlavento) standard, centered on the São Vicente Creole, and a South (Sotavento) standard, centered on the Santiago Creole. Manuel Veiga, PhD, a linguist by training, and Minister of Culture of Cape Verde, is the premier proponent of Kriolu's officialization and standardization.

Cape Verdean diaspora

Today, more Cape Verdeans live abroad than in Cape Verde itself, with significant emigrant Cape Verdean communities in the United Statesmarker (500,000 Cape Verdeans, with a major concentration on the New Englandmarker coast from Providence, Rhode Islandmarker, to New Bedford, Massachusettsmarker). There are also significant Cape Verde populations in São Tomé and Príncipemarker, Portugalmarker (80,000), Angolamarker (45,000), Senegalmarker (25,000), the Netherlandsmarker (20,000, of which 15,000 are concentrated in Rotterdammarker), and Italymarker (10,000). There is also a Cape Verdean community in Argentinamarker numbering 8,000.

In the USA, the children and grandchildren of the first immigrant waves became involved in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. This led them to make links with other US black groups. Cape Verdeans moved to places all over the world, from Macaumarker to Haitimarker to Argentina to northern Europe.

Culture

Cape Verdean social and cultural patterns are similar to those of rural Portugal and Africa. Soccer games and church activities are typical sources of social interaction and entertainment. The traditional walk around the praça (town square) to meet friends is practiced regularly in Cape Verde towns. In towns with electricity, television is available on two channels (Cape Verdean and Portuguese).

Cape Verde music incorporates Portuguese, Caribbean, African, and Brazilian influences. Cape Verde's quintessential national music is the morna, a melancholy and lyrical song form typically sung in Cape Verdean Creole. The most popular music genre after morna is the coladeira followed by funaná and batuque music. Amongst the most worldwide known Cape Verdean singers, is the singer Cesaria Evora, whose songs became a hallmark of the country and its culture.There are also well known artist born to Cape Verdean parents who excelled themselves. Amongst these artists are jazz pianist Horace Silver, Duke Ellington’s saxophonist Paul Gonsalves and singer Lura.

Dance forms include the soft dance morna, the extreme sensuality of coladeira including the modernized version called passada (zouk), the Funaná (a sensual mixed Portuguese and African dance), and the Batuque dance.

Cape Verdean literature is one of the richest of Lusophone Africa. Famous poets include Paulino Vieira, Manuel de Novas, Sergio Frusoni, Eugénio Tavares, and B. Léza, and famous authors include Baltasar Lopes da Silva, António Aurélio Gonçalves, Manuel Lopes, Henrique Teixeira de Sousa, and Germano Almeida.

The Cape Verde diet is mostly based on fish and staple foods like corn and rice. Vegetables available during most of the year are potatoes, onions, tomatoes, manioc, cabbage, kale, and dried beans. Fruits like banana and papayas are available year-round, while others like mangos and avocados are seasonal. A popular dish served in Cape Verde is Cachupa.

Health, education, and development

Primary school education in Cape Verde is mandatory between the ages of 6 and 14 years and free for children ages 6 to 12. In 1997, the gross primary enrollment rate was 148.8 percent. While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children’s participation in school. Textbooks have been made available to 90 percent of school children, and 83 percent of the teachers have attended in-service teacher training. Although most children have access to education, some problems remain. For example, many students and some teachers speak Creole at home and have a poor command of Portuguese (the language of instruction); there is insufficient spending on school materials, lunches, and books; and there is a high repetition rate for certain grades.

Cape Verde has been steadily developing since its independence, and besides having been promoted to the group of "medium development" countries in 2007, leaving the Least Developed Countries category (which is only the second time it has happened to a country), is currently the 9th best ranked country in Africa in terms of Human Development Index.

The European Commission's total allocation for the period of 2008-2013 foreseen for Cape Verde to address "poverty reduction, in particular in rural and periurban areas where women are heading the households, as well as good governance" amounts to €54.1 million European Commission.

See also



References

External links

Government


General information


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